Our View: Holes cannot fix themselves

Repeat methamphetamine offenders must take responsibility for their abuse

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If there is a hole in a door, can it fix itself?

Obviously not. The hole only gets bigger as the elements take their toll on the entrance.

This analogy is the same for repeat methamphetamine offenders. If they don't stop their use -- or the hole is not fixed -- it only encourages the behavior, and the hole becomes bigger, letting even more social ills into society.

But, as the editorial board asked, whose responsibility is it to fix the hole? Our belief: the repeat offenders.

Society cannot make someone overcome a drug problem. That person has to overcome it.

When we see the same people in court or in the pages of our own paper for repeat crimes, frustration builds, especially when it comes to those being arrested multiple times on methamphetamine charges.

Most of the time, those charged or convicted are released that day or get a slap on the wrist. Then down the road, many of the same people seem to be in court or the news again for the same offenses. While those convicted pay a price with some time in jail and fines, society pays more.

Society pays financially by fixing meth users' teeth that have fallen out because of the drug use. If meth users don't kick the habit, their crimes likely will get more serious as they look to find ways to get their next fix.

Society also pays when meth users' children are put in foster care, financially, through human services, and socially, in how it affects the child (poor role models, loss of what family structure the child had).

And this is just the tip of the iceberg for society. It doesn't touch the problems meth use causes for the individual -- disconnect with family, friends, one's own body and reality, to name a few.

We could debate for hours as to why people use drugs (the most common thought being it is a way to escape problems), but we're not trying to make excuses for others' actions. They need to take ownership of their actions, as we can all make excuses.

While society pays the price for meth use, it's an individual's choice to use the drug, and he or she alone must make the decision to stop.

That being said, society as a whole has a role in fixing the hole in the door by providing some tools for the repair.

When someone is in the grips of drug use, few can escape without some help. It's one thing to say, "I want to quit," and have no support system. It's a different matter when that person has some tools to work with.

Craig has some of those tools in place, with support groups like Communities Overcoming Meth Abuse and area churches. And the editorial board highly encourages the proposed drug court to start as soon as possible because it has shown to be effective nationwide.

Clearly, some tools are in place. It's those who want to quit who need to decide if they are going to pick them up.

And if that doesn't work, then society needs to help itself and create harsher penalties for those who can't help themselves.

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